Dealing With Your Dogs’ Muddy Paw Prints

This is always a dilemma for dog, and cat lovers. How to keep the house clean, especially after our pets visit the outside world. Well, probably more a problem for dog owners, rather than cat people. Our feline pet hardly ever goes out, even if it’s just to our backyard!

But dogs are different. They will go out. They will rump around in the mud and the dirt. And then they will run just as fast to get back inside! Sounds familiar? It should. It’s a universal trait, when it comes to dogs. Even the most reserved breeds can’t help it. Must be the wolf in them.

And many dog owners have tried everything, short of locking their dogs up indoors. That’s just not a viable alternative. For several reasons. One, if you don’t allow them to expend their energies outside, guess what they will do to the inside of your house. Two, it’s just not fair to the dogs. They need to go out just as much as you do. And third, it’s just fun! For them, and for you!

So, just how are you supposed to deal with your dog’s muddy paw prints? Well, here are a few suggestions.

Keep Them Away From Mud

One surefire, and obvious way, is to keep them away from what makes them dirty: mud puddles and loose dirt.

This is, of course, easier said than done. But you’ve got to at least try.  

There are areas in your yard where water will pool and mud will surely develop. Especially after it rains. Then perhaps you can keep them away from the yard soon after a rain storm. Walk them around the neighborhood, instead, while you let nature dry itself out.

You can also fence off areas that can get muddy, and where dogs will be more prone to dig, like flower beds, or other areas in your garden where it can get muddy.

Even while walking them around the neighborhood, or in parks, try to keep them away from the muddy paths or areas where water has pooled, just waiting for a playful canine to come along. Because if your dogs are anything like our Mochi, they will jump on those puddles of water and make a day out of it!

Clean Up Before Entering The House

But of course, they will get themselves dirty! That’s almost a default thing with dogs. So what else can you do? Well, make sure they’re cleaned before you allow them back into the house. That seems obvious, but I tell you, it doesn’t always happen. Not for want of trying. It’s just that sometimes, we are not prepared with the proper equipment outside the house to effect a thorough cleaning.

We usually stock wipes and towels in the car before we take Mochi anywhere. And we do have that mat that we use to cover the backseat so that his hair and whatever other dirt he may drag in with him won’t stick to the seat and the carpet. But even then, we still make sure that we thoroughly wipe his paws down before we let him back into the car. It’s not going to be 100% clean, but enough not to drive you up the proverbial wall!

Well, you can do the same thing at home. Make sure you station baskets of wipes and towels by the entryways into your homes so you’re always prepared to wipe them off before you let them back in. Some owners even station hair dryers there, especially on rainy days.

It’s an extra effort, but well worth it. Better than having to wipe off mud from your floors or carpet!

Booties, Indoor Socks And Runners

Now, we personally have not tried this approach, so I’m not sure how Mochi might react if we ever did try it on him. But I’ve read it someplace that this actually helped other owners, so we’re including it here.  

Try out booties for your dogs when they go out. And there are apparently different kinds, depending on the type of activity your dog will do outside. Now, it will be a different sensation to them, so try it out slow. Introduce it with a lot of positive reinforcements in order not to shock your pets too much. Make it a good experience for them.

Then, you might also want to try indoor socks! Because, if you’re able to get your dogs to accept outdoor booties, socks should not be a problem for them. I have been told that these are great on laminate floors because they pick up prints easily.

Use absorbent mats outside your doors, then runners inside where your dogs will have no choice but walk over them, absorbing much of the dirt they would have otherwise dragged into your house.

Also, trim their nails and any hair that are too long and poking through the pads. They absorb dirt and mud and these stick to their hair, dry on them, and they get a free ride into your inner sanctum.

You may also want to consider covering your sofas with linen that you can easily remove and wash, especially the ones that your dogs enjoy lying in. These will ensure that your dogs will continue to enjoy the comfort of your furnishings, while keeping them safe from your dogs’ dirt and dander.

Take Care of Those Paws

We wrote before about how sensitive dogs paws actually are, and how owners take that fact for granted. They can feel heat and cold, just perhaps differently than we do. As such, we need to make sure we take care of their paws and pads, too.

Now, know that puppies do not naturally like their paws touched, So first try to condition them gently to the fact that you will need to touch their paws in order to clean them. Use a lot of encouragement and treats in order to make the experience better for them.

Then, use gentle soap then cleaning your dogs paws, especially if you’re going to do it daily. If you’re shampooing them daily, too, use shampoo that’s safe to use often.

Then make sure you add moisturizers to their paws. In fact, even before you take them out, protect those paws with natural dog wax products. These will act as natural barriers to help keep dirt and mud from getting too deep into their paws and pads.

A Little Training Goes A Long Way

Of course, we shouldn’t do away with some basic obedience training. This is always important. It establishes a rapport between owner and dog, help with basic communication that you know they will understand and follow.  

We’re not talking about dog show type obedience training. We’re talking about basic stuff, like “sit” and “stay” or “not there!” These cues are important in stopping them in their tracks before they start to act on an urge to run through your house!

Pets are fun! That’s the whole idea of having them. And so is having a clean an orderly home. There is no reason you can’t have both!


If you have any stories or suggestions that you can add to this conversation, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We look forward to reading them. Thanks!